By Esteemed Oscar Fanuel Kameta

In 1959 to 1960s Nyasaland state of emergency, many people lost lives in the fight for justice in demand for freedom and independence. This included self-rule, improved living standards and abolition of evil policies corruption and nepotism inclusive. The reaction of natives led to the 1964s independence in which this year, we have reached 58 years after being accorded the freedom and independence we demanded.

Malawi at 58

With Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda as the prime minister and later president of this nation with his one party rule, agriculture sector boomed, the education systems ticked, and under the circumstances, Malawians seemed a happy people except the clampdown of human rights. Ultimately, Malawi`s social spectrum presented an enviable picture to the world over as a progressive nation.

These were some of the landmarks made few years after attaining independence which set a good precedence to the succeeding presidents. However, looking at the way the post-multiparty presidents have governed this nation, it is somehow bad and retrogressively pathetic as we are living in conditions which were denounced back then.

The Bakili Muluzi administration was massively criticized with privatization of government companies and allegedly left the then head of state with a corruption allegation case. There were amazing figures which were reported to be corruptly dinned in the Professor Bingu wa Muntharika era from public coffers coupled with many allegations on nepotism and tribalism. The Joyce Banda era is well remembered with the cashgate issue which made Malawians bitter over her and booted her out of office. The Professor Peter Munthalika administration too suffered criticism over nepotism, tribalism and corruption allegations.

All these set a good tone of what Malawians want when the Tonse alliance was assuming power. However, there has been sharp rise in price of commodities, devaluation of kwacha, high levels of nepotism, implication of many people in corruption involving the famous Sattar which has stired Malawi political waters, be it the judiciary, media fraternity, social media influencers, the Defence Force, the Police even the State House including the office of the Vice President.

Interestingly, when people fought for freedom and independence, multiparty and the coming in of 2020 fresh presidential election they wanted to uproot such vices. However, it has been noted that the more things change, the more they remain the same. As a country, we are now 58 years old in independence, how independent are we yet we are allowing neo-colonialism to drive us? How independent are we yet we are relying upon IMF to set limits for our economy? Can we die if we may maintain our stand against this impunity like what Professor Bingu Wa Munthalika once did?

How independent are we yet we continue to use Eurocentric policies and approaches which don’t even benefit our nation? How free are we yet poverty and inequality remain obstinately high? Poverty being driven by low productivity in the agriculture sector, limited opportunities in non-farming activities, volatile economic growth and rapid population growth with limited coverage of safety net programs targeting challenges.

It is worrisome at 58 for Malawi to be ranked 128 of 180 economies on the International Transparency ranking. Malawi topping the poorest countries. Corruption into a state capture, corruption and nepotism all over, politics of rewards, political prostitution for personal gains, judicial shopping, is this the freedom and independence we fought for? If we are to be honest, we might clearly and boldly say NO, but what can be done now as the system is completely awful?

Despite going through 58 years of challenges with many of them in the multiparty era, largely powered by lack of patriotism, we can catch up as Zambia has done in the past two years. It is possible to create jobs, give those in the civil service reasonable wages, Malawians being given good living standards including unlimited access to farm inputs while improving the education sector and the health care. ACB, Police, Judiciary and the Defence Force should stand independent for us to curb corruption and nepotism.

Dr Chakwera and Dr Chilima with their Tonse Alliance have a huge responsibility of making sure that what was envisaged both at independence in 1964 and at the reintroduction of democracy in 1994 including in their 2020 flesh presidential election campaign promises is delivered. We still give them a benefit of doubt in corruption eradication measures although many of their descendants are allegedly captured in corruption against what we fought for, 58 years ago, in 1994 and in 2020.

Malawi at 58 is looking for reinforcing the development agenda with unity of purpose not political persecutions and backbiting in preparation for 2025 general elections. Tonse Alliance leaders now must put their differences aside and endorse one developmental agenda and stop focusing on 2025 to create a better Malawi they promised, Malawi which will correspond with the years of self-rule.

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